Wild Kingdom, Andorra Edition (Summer 1245)

Vibria wakes up with a gasp and sits bolt upright, catching herself when she realizes her fingers were making the gestures for a spontaneous Rego Terram spell. She immediately springs out of bed, throwing on a dressing gown on her way to the children's room. She barely slows when she reaches their door. Their nanny is startled awake and jumps to her feet, but Vibria barely acknowledges her presence, intent on checking on her children to make sure they're all right. The children stir, but don't wake, and Vibria breathes a sigh of relief.

"What's wrong, maga?" The nanny has a worried, almost scared, look on her face when she sees Vibria's expression in the torchlight.

"Nothing. Just a bad dream, I hope." She leans down and kisses Artur and Maria gently before bidding the nanny goodnight and making her way to her husband's bed. She's had a bit of a jolt and just wants to lay with Jaksic and hold each other the rest of the night.

Vocis, on the other hand, has a dream about chess. He is the bishop, Vibria is the knight. Both dressed in black. They lure the white rook to a cave where it gets devoured by the red knight. It makes no sense, but Vocis feels a sense of satisfaction for use of a clever ploy.

Ikelos, Marcellus, and the Woad each receive the following message...

I, Dora of Flambeau, pledge to the Covenant of Andorra, upon the authority of Roberto of Flambeau, Marshal of the Covenant of Andorra, have been instructed as one of my tasks, to patrol the wilderness surrounding the keep at Arans and investigate the resurgence of the owlbear population. I have been advised that I may invite the other petitioners to join me, and to inform them that this would be considered a demonstration of goodwill and earnest intention. Those who are interested in participating are instructed to gather at dawn three days hence at the gatehouse courtyard. Preparations will be made for our safe escort and logistic requirements.
~ Edith Andorra Rudolphius of Flambeau, Deputy Marshal and Junior Warden

When the first member of the expedition arrives in the courtyard, they find Marcellus fast asleep in a cart near the gate.

OOC He has the nocturnal flaw. :grin:

That is quite likely the Woad. He is eager to learn about the locale and to prove himself useful. I'm not saying he is itching for a fight, but he isn't not itching.
He arrives just before dawn, clad in chainmail and carrying his longspear over one shoulder. His stone face is turned east, his head is tilted a few degrees back, his eyes scan the horizon for the first sign of the rising sun.

Zipping back and forth a bit, that day when Edith sent that message to the magi, she also goes about requisitioning the soldiers and equipment. She tells Oscar, the expedition sergeant Gimme ghost guy and two others. I am gonna bring the boys, so we are set at five. How do I go about obtaining the "Rod of Transportation"?

Oscar assigns Roger, himself, and Mateu.

Dawn of the appointed day, and just about everyone is gathered in the courtyard. Edith then approaches from the Mercere quarter (she resides on the islands and uses the portal, she is as unfamiliar with the area as you are).
In her company there is a pair of sturdy towheaded youths, dressed in northern fashion, equipped with round shields and longswords.
Salve sodales. I am Edith of Flambeau. This is my son Modi and my nephew Magdi.
If any one stares she stares back. She is used to it.
The stated intent of this expedition is to investigate a resurgence in the owlbear population. I have marked out on this map the locations of three areas of interest. First we will look at the closest one, the light woods on the edge of Xagyg valley, where Marcellus and Ikelos found tracks. Then we head away from the valley,up along the Valira d'Orient, then all the way in along Riu de Cresp, to where it ends. Or begins? Some woodsmen up that way say the spotted one. Then deep into the hills. This place called Vallpeguera. Up over around then down that rock (who wrote these directions?), somewhere around there is the hovel of the late Lord Featherbottom. We will investigate thos ruins.
Afterthat, we circle around and work our way back.

The Woad speaks Latin, until he learns the local language
Very well, we will need some trackers and local guides. The Woad would like to learn from those people.
We’re investigating you say, but we are expecting trouble right? A number of questions arise for the Woad:
Can one communicate with them or are they just animals?
How big are they?
How tough?
Do they use weapons?
Any known weaknesses?

Ikelos arrives at the appointed time. Dressed in his brown robes with an orange cloth draped over one should like a sash. A tattoo of a ring of feathers wraps around his neck. He smiles and nods to all there. He gives Marcellus a gentle shake. Time to get up and find the owlbears!!

Marcellus, who was snoring lightly until Ikelos shakes him, groans and slowly rolls to a sitting position. He looks blearily at the assembled people. "Whoassat?"

He rubs he face, trying to wake up. He doesn't seem to have understood a thing of what Edith and The Woad have said.

You all see Mateu approaching at a good pace. He is in high spirits! He dresses in combat gear and the cross of his order displayed in the black surcoat he wears. it is a little frayed at the edges, and the black is more an off-grey in some areas, as you would expect form a garment worn in campaign. The military gear is in top notch condition. He is dressed in a mail haubergeon with coif, but without the leggings and other complements that would turn it into a full chain mail suit. He also carries a sword and dagger in his belt, and a medium shield is strapped over his shoulder. A waterskin and satchel cross his chest to rest in his other hip.

Good morning of our Lord Jesus to you all! ready to hunt some abominations? he smiles at his own good spirits and tries to settle ddown where you are, but in oless than 210 seconds he is already pacing the area and playing with the crossguard of his sword, making the top part of the blade exit and enter the scabbard repeatedly. he is clearly itching to start the adventure.

NOTE: I equipped Mateu for a day adventure. if we are suppose dto be away for a longer time he will have a nearby horse with the necessary supplies and equipment.

NOTE 2: it is funny to read all these locations that we will go to. I did a similar bike route in the area a while ago.

(Wouldn't that be Summer of 1244, then? Or is Winter 1244 the beginning of 1245 and I'm a year off in my stuff?)

Marcellus, who was snoring lightly until Ikelos shakes him, groans and slowly rolls to a sitting position. He looks blearily at the assembled people. "Whoassat?"

He rubs he face, trying to wake up. He doesn't seem to have understood a thing of what Edith and The Woad have said.

Ikelos squats down near the waking Marcellus.
We get to see the country and hopefully capture an owlbear or two. I think they want to go soon friend Marcellus.

Marcellus nods, "Yes, yes, I remember. More signs of owlbears. Need to find out why. Message from a maga. Expedition." His sighs quickly turns into a yawn. "I do not know whay we need to leave while we should still be in bed. From what I have been told, the beasts only come out at night. We will have trouble finding them at this time of day."

He rolls out of the cart and gathers a bag that he hangs over his shoulder, before taking the cloak he was using as a blanket and putting it on. "Ready. Let us go, then, my friend.

With that, he starts walking towards the gate, without much energy. He doesn"t seem top notice that the others more martially inclined magi are still talking over their plans amongst themselves and with the grogs. Or perhaps he just figures that they will catch up with him soon enough.

Ikelos tags along. Not worried if any follow.

Very astute point. They will be sleeping. Should we look in the trees or a cave? Being asleep would be best to capture one. Not that we would be asleep of course...I wonder?

"I think I remember from last autumn Roger saying they never even knew any had escaped. He said they lay eggs, but big as they are, I would theorize that they probably make dens like bears instead of nests in the trees. Well, of perhaps nests on or under the ground. A cross of the two? Dests? Nens?" He yawns again.

"So we should look either for caves, or perhaps in the forest they dig amongst the roots of a large tree. So we find more tracks, and try following them this time." Another yawn.

Edith mutters.
We are going to spend a couple of days at each location. Where those tracks were spotted, I want to camp there and spend a few nights looking for clues.At the river's end, I want to interview the woodsman that spotted something, stay there awhile and search for nests/dens. Then at Featherbottom's cabin. I want to give it a good going over. Look around the area.
That's just three lead locations to get us started. Should take a few weeks at least. If we run into a good lead, we might me into this for the better part of the season.
You don't have to worry about logistics. I had inquired about this thing called the Rod of Transportation. Turns out someone else is using it, but no worries. Carmen set me up with a tent that fits in a small pack and can shelter all of us. An enchanted device her father made. She called it "The Palatial Pavilion of Perez". Then as for supplies, we don't need to carry much. The boys here can zip about as needed to get things. And maybe some hunting and foraging will be good for us.

Okay, I confess. I used Google maps to take a satellite look at the real actual Arans Andorra. I zoomed in and grabbed a few authentic geographic names that l thought looked cool.

The Woad stands around at full ready and waiting to go. He has the patience of a stone, but as he speaks he is clearly eager to go. Now.
Normally all those practicalities and logistics are part of going on expeditions. In Hiberbia, these things are a part of toughening you up. It is almost a luxury to have everything taken care of, by bot having to know whether you prepare for a day trip or an entire season...all that is new to The Woad.. He does suppose this ennables us all to focus on the matter at hand rather than camping and food issues.
While we walk, can some of the grogs tell the Woad any details of combat with the opwlbears, any tactical issues about them? Or any tactical issues regarding the Grogs, how they fight, who gives orders, and also about the other magi?
The Woad will start: He does not mind fighting up close, along the Grogs, but has ranged magic. Fighting animal-like enemies is somewhat new to him, his back of tricks may be somewhat reduced when not fighting armed and armoured men. But he is sure he can tip the odds in favour of the Grogs. The beak of the owlbears may turn out to be less lethal than usual.
Who is next?

Mateu pats the side of Torah the donkey. We are going hunting Torah! You see, there are other stuff besides heretics to be hunted! A nice change of pace after all those year sin the frontier, don't you think? yeah, I know I am boruing you. Return to your books. Hahah. Mateu laughs at his own (really bad) joke and follows the others with torah on a long and loose leash. The donkey trots easily down the poath woiththe others.

I assume we are going on foot and that we are usng a donkey as a load animal to carry the supplies and move faster. I will be using Torah, Mateu's donkey. Torah is a Catalan donkey, one of the fathers of the american donkey (actually the construction of the american railways almost drove it to extinction due to almost all stallions going overseas) and is one of the "best" (due to size and temperament) in the world. Males are as large as a horse

I shall presume much of the conversation takes place over the course of the journey. Oscar and Roger each lead a Catalan donkey as well, carrying a few supplies and some equipment. They hand the reigns off to a third that is also coming with. Private Snafu.
If anyone observes closely, Edith tends to glide easily about the terrain. Modi and Magni are also pretty adept, and confusing. Sometimes one is ahead and the other behind, but you check again and it seems the other way around.

Edith talks about logistics and expedition protocol. Roberto told me that back in the day, the Gauntlet for House Flambeau used to be that they would drop you off somewhere alone, no idea where you were and without supplies, and then you had to find your way back home or meet your master ata certain time and place. You had like thirty days or something, and if you failed you were kicked out. Some apprentice started a huge fire in Barcelona one time, so I guess why they don't do that anymore.
As for who is in charge, nobody really. Technically, Oscar there is responsible for the men in his charge. None of the rest of us are members. We are guests of the covenant, waiting for the council to vote on our petitions. This is, like, one of those tasks they can ask of us. We are demonstrating our worth I guess.
I'm kinda in charge I guess? I organized the whole thing. My son and nephew, they'll fall in line.
Old Bert once told me something about different formations. Not sure what he meant. I know he's testing me, despite what he says.
I think it is a chain of command thing, like you were saying when you asked about who gives orders. Units and sub units. Okay, we got three trained soldiers, the knight, and the boys. If it comes to combat, I'll take charge of the boys, you team up with the knight. The soldiers will be responsible for protecting the other two magi.
Does that work?

As for experience with owlbears, the only one here that has ever actually seem one would be Oscar.
It was about thirteen years ago, maybe fourteen. A year or two after the Massacre. There were so few of us left, so there were a bunch of new recruits and Captain Alejandro was leading a training expedition. Get them used to working with magi. But itwas more like we were training the magi instead! We ran into Vibria's cousin, the Fat Drake, who had been hunting owlbears. We all laughed, but sure enough, three days later we walking along when one lunged at us from the blackness of the woods!
It looked like...

This one recruit, Chuckles, he wet his pants! One of the magi took it out with a firebolt. Vibria? Or Gardiatus maybe?
We were going to investigate more, but then that whole Ghoul Goulio thing happened. Then Vocis and Vibria confronted the mad wizard that was breeding them, made some deal where they would help him with the drakes, and that poor wizard got himself killed trying to use physical force negotiating with Venkath.

Oh, and what Edith said is right. You are guests of the covenant, and they are hosting an expedition. I am in charge of protection and facilitation. But Edith has it covered. The young men, they are not boys anymore, they can teleport at will. The pavilion tent is packed with the gear. And I have an ace up my sleeve.

The Woad will try to engage one of the scout/guide grogs in conversation- hoping he speaks Latin - in order to learn the local geography, starting with landmarks.